How paranoid are you? - Mothering Forums
1 2 
Parenting > How paranoid are you?
erigeron 01:54 AM 06-30-2011

First-time mama to a bundle of joy who is just 5 days old now. What I'm wondering is this. All through pregnancy and all through her short life so far, I have had two tracks running in my head. One is that things will probably be just fine because usually things are just fine. The other is freaking out about all the rare things that could happen. When I was pregnant it was all "What if the heart stops beating and I don't find out for weeks" and "What if there are birth defects" and "What if the fact that I haven't felt her move in a little while is a problem" and "What if she dies during birth" or whatever. Now she's here and healthy, but it's all what about SIDS or some sort of weird disorder surfacing or whatnot. And I'm sure in a few years it's going to be bike accidents and kidnappers and I know not what. Usually I can get the rational track to take the lead, and it's not stopping me from enjoying my gorgeous wonderful child, but I do wonder, is it always going to be like this? Is this just what parenthood is? Am I going to overprotect her out of worry later, or does every parent feel like this and have to quell it?

 

I know I'm postpartum and hormonal and sleep-deprived and I suppose you could make a case that before I was pregnant and hormonal (though I don't think that hormones have been significantly altering my mood before or after birth). And I'm not about to freak out now about my levels of worry (oh, the irony). I guess I just want to collect data. If my level of worry is comparable to other people's then I'm okay, but if I'm way more so than the norm then maybe I should get counseling one of these years before I end up having negative effects on my kid(s).

 

So, where are you at on the paranoia continuum? What's "normal"?



mattemma04 05:24 AM 06-30-2011

I felt the same way.Still have my moments.

 

You swap one fear for another as they grow up.Most of the time I just keep telling myself life is so very short for each of us,so we should concentrate on spending our time well.You do your best to prevent some of the bad stuff,but other things are just out of your control. I often remind the kids to be happy and not waste time being in  crabby moods.

 

Enjoy your little one.Gosh,been 9 years since I was in your position!


crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 05:24 AM 06-30-2011
hug.gif

I was very paranoid all through pregnancy and most of DS's first year or so, pretty high on that continuum although it didn't significantly impact my ability to function. I've had a lifelong anxiety disorder so it was just something I accepted as 'normal' for me and I already had a lot of coping skills -- there are lots of things that can help with this kind of anxiety, ranging from meditation to medication. smile.gif I did find the worst of it subsided sometime before he turned one so I assume it was exacerbated by pregnancy/postpartum hormones, but I also think after a while I could see for myself how strong & healthy DS is, so he no longer seems fragile to me. Of course I still worry, as all parents do, and certain situations make me particularly anxious, but MOST of the time I'm no longer waking up every 10mins to see if he's still breathing! So I do think it can get better with time, but I would consider counseling if that's something you're open to, so you can learn some specific techniques to cope. I grew up with an incredibly anxious and overprotective mom and yes, it did have far-reaching negative affects for my siblings & me, so whatever you choose to do now, I would keep tabs on it moving forward and do something more proactive if it seems like it's affecting your parenting decisions.

However, your LO is only 5 days old, give yourself some time to adjust! smile.gif
mattemma04 05:27 AM 06-30-2011

One thing I wanted to suggest is don't read bad stuff. I stopped reading news,but the people I read about still pop into my thoughts at the oddest times. I get sad and scared.Wish I had never read the bad stuff that happens to people.


erigeron 06:06 AM 06-30-2011

Quote:

Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

hug.gif
but I also think after a while I could see for myself how strong & healthy DS is, so he no longer seems fragile to me.

I think that is part of it since I do feel very vulnerable myself right now physically and did towards the end of pregnancy too. Like if something wanted to attack me or my baby, I'm not at full strength to defend either of us. Maybe I'll feel better once she's a little stronger and so am I. I've never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but I've struggled with a certain degree of it, so I'll try to look back at some of the materials I have that have helped me in the past.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

One thing I wanted to suggest is don't read bad stuff.

I avoid reading about politics as much as possible for this reason. A lot of stuff happens in politics that just gets me down and I don't feel I can do anything about it. There are people in my life more up on the news than I so I'm confident if something really earth-shattering happens I'll find out about it. I should probably extend this to scary stuff about kids! Good point.


berry987's Avatar berry987 06:15 AM 06-30-2011

As I was reading your post I was thinking "Welcome to Motherhood!" because I know a lot of women (me included) who just didn't worry much until they had kids, but having kids changes that for good. I agree with someone else who said don't read the stuff that freaks you out - I sometimes see a headline about a child who drowned or got hit by a car and I have to read it because I just need to know what happened. But it is always upsetting, almost always just a horrible accident. And the truth is, we can't do much to protect our kids from random, horrible accidents. That said, they are rare and most likely will never happen. So, I try to reduce my worry by just not reading that stuff. Read about the stuff you CAN control, like good nutrition, how to handle behavior problems, general safety (car seats, etc). It's always good to be educated, but my mama brain goes wild when I read the other stuff.

 

I think it's very normal to be paranoid and worry when you have your first child. For me, there was a sudden, almost painful reality that I would never, ever be so worry free again. You love that little baby more than anything on the planet and the enormity of that sinks it. As my kids have gotten older I've tempered the worry (or at least I try not to show it) because I don't want them thinking the world is unsafe. I let them explore, be bold, as much as I can - like climbing tall trees, venturing around the neighborhood with their friends, riding their scooters fast down hills (with helmets on, of course winky.gif) - and just cross my fingers and hope for the best!


homeschoolingmama's Avatar homeschoolingmama 06:46 AM 06-30-2011

Yes Welcome! :)

Everything is about your child.  I have a feeling everything will be about them for the rest of our lives.  After I had my first I went dancing with some friends.  Instead of enjoying myself when I got there I immediately scoped out exit doors in case of a fire because of my child.  You no longer think about your safety but of your child.  The only time I think about my safety is when I think about how my children need me.  It is all about them. :)

When I look at my single friends I think how much freedom they have with their worries.  They worry about work/relationship stuff etc. which is important to them but it isn't the same.  I constantly think things like...are they happy?  Did I do enough with each one today?  Are they healthy?  My mind constantly goes to them whether I am home or not.  Don't even get me started on their safety.  The beach scares me with my children.  4 of them don't swim yet.  Ugh.  Them getting hit by cars scares me.  Predators scare me.  Just as long as it doesn't affect your everyday life I think you will be fine.  If you are being limited in the things you do because of your fears then I believe it is a problem.  It is our instinct to protect our children.  I have a lot of thoughts and fears when it comes to my children's safety but I don't let that affect my children in a negative way.


hildare's Avatar hildare 07:38 AM 06-30-2011

on a scale of 1-10, i'd be about a 38.9.  i am more paranoid now than when i smoked-a-all-the-weed.  sometimes the paranoia would manifest in uncontrollable anxiety.  the only thing that has helped me was doing more yoga and meditation and falling back on controlled breathing when my thoughts would veer in a bad direction.  some of us are just natural worriers, i think. 


Alyantavid's Avatar Alyantavid 08:15 AM 06-30-2011


It gets less I think, as your kids grow.  I'm still overprotective and want to make sure nothing bad could ever happen to my kids.  But I'm realizing that they'll never learn how to handle anything if I don't let them out on their own a bit. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

One thing I wanted to suggest is don't read bad stuff. I stopped reading news,but the people I read about still pop into my thoughts at the oddest times. I get sad and scared.Wish I had never read the bad stuff that happens to people.



That.  I don't watch the news, I don't read stories about involving kids, I don't read books that have something happen to a child.  I just can't take it and it does make me paranoid.  So I avoid all that. 

 


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 08:27 AM 06-30-2011

 

I've read through your post several times and struggled with how to respond because I don't want to make you feel worse. I do want to address the issue you raise. So I'll just say what I'm thinking, and hope you find it reassuring, since that's how I intend it. 

 

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, we discovered a complication that at it's worst, might mean a life-threatening malignancy or problem with organ development. We were hit in the face with the realization that a child is a gift to be cherished, but that there are no guarantees in life and absolutely no guarantees about your children. Thankfully, the problems were relatively minor, correctable with surgery and never troubled us again. I've taken that lesson to heart though. I enjoy my children absolutely, but I don't expect that we will avoid all troubles. Some will be minor and some will be huge. More important is the attitude we'll have when we encounter those troubles. We're confident that we will manage - somehow - and work through any difficulties. So it's a little counter-intuitive, but I think we worry less as a result of facing this early health problem. 

 

You ask a lot of "what if" questions. I guess I'd say to you, yes - what if? What will you do if your child has an injury or an illness? You will draw on all the strength, courage, and grace you have within and that are offered by your family, friends and community. In the meantime, living with fear won't help you enjoy and celebrate this child.

 

I guess my best advice is - breathe. You have the right idea to focus right now on how wonderful it is to watch your child grow and know that you will deal with whatever life brings, whenever it arrives. 

 

 


mandalamama's Avatar mandalamama 09:43 AM 06-30-2011

my fears just swap for new fears gradually as she grows. i believe if you can still enjoy your little one, you're doing just fine. 5 days, congrats mama!  luxlove.gifwow, i miss those days! at least i knew where she was.


mommy212's Avatar mommy212 09:54 AM 06-30-2011

I am rarely paranoid or over-protective, but that is just my "style" with little man :) The chances of something like kidnapping by stranger, etc. are really rare and  I don't want to ruin his fun and childhood by being over-paranoid and not letting him do anything! Of course, I don't send him to the store in the middle of the night or something, but if he walks out of sight for a minute I do not panic. 

 

On a bit of a side note, something that I have been wondering- does everyone follow their LO around the playground, outdoors, etc constantly? I have seen so many parents do this, while I am sitting on the bench watching him run around! I mean, ya he might fall down learning to go down a slope but to me it is just a learning experience. What do you think?

 


Honey693's Avatar Honey693 11:22 AM 06-30-2011

I still check my 2.5 year old at night to make sure she's breathing...  I'm terrified of stuff like that.  But on the playground I let her climb with the big kids and don't give it a second  thought.  I have some weird issues.


crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 12:43 PM 06-30-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey693 View Post

I still check my 2.5 year old at night to make sure she's breathing...  I'm terrified of stuff like that.


Yup, me too. At least now it's only once or twice a night at most, instead of ALL NIGHT LONG!!

I do not follow DS around if he's just wandering around the playground but if he goes on high platforms, I hover, because he has tried multiple times to just walk right off the edge of a 6'+ drop!!! Most of the time though, he is free to roam at a distance as he chooses. I never in a million years thought I'd be able to do that, always thought I'd be more of a 'helicopter parent'!
samstress's Avatar samstress 12:57 PM 06-30-2011

i was pretty paranoid with my first when she was a newborn.  constantly checking to make sure she was still breathing.  wouldn't allow her to sleep with any blankets until she was 18 months old and she didn't get a pillow until she was three and that was only because she wanted one (i still go in every night and remove it once she's asleep). 

 

i now have a six week old and am constantly checking him as well.  i lie awake half the night just staring at him. 

 

i'm a mama and will always worry, but i do think i've become less paranoid.  am a bit right now because ds is a newborn, but with dd (who is four) i'm less so.  although, i must say, the other night i went in and closed her bedroom windows because i had convinced myself that someone could climb in through the window and take her.  crazy, right?


samstress's Avatar samstress 01:01 PM 06-30-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy212 View Post

On a bit of a side note, something that I have been wondering- does everyone follow their LO around the playground, outdoors, etc constantly? I have seen so many parents do this, while I am sitting on the bench watching him run around! I mean, ya he might fall down learning to go down a slope but to me it is just a learning experience. What do you think?

 


i don't follow dd around at all.  i use our time at the park as a chance for me to sit and relax.

 

dd is quite an active kid, so she falls all the time (at the park and at home).  my following her around won't change that.  she usually gets right up and says "i'm ok".  when she starts crying i know she's really hurt.

 

 


mamazee's Avatar mamazee 01:13 PM 06-30-2011
I was very paranoid when my older one was tiny. It felt like she only stayed alive because I was continually willing her to breathe. I've relaxed a ton as time has passed.
meemee's Avatar meemee 11:25 PM 06-30-2011

oh boy. i wasnt paranoid at all. i wasnt so paranoid about the what if. i was more obsessed about doing the right thing. being the best parent i could be to dd.

 

i felt deeply bonded to my dd and felt this deep respect for her space. for instance she HATED hovering. so i'd be 5 or 6 steps behind her as she learnt how to climb stairs. my then dh could not draw that boundary and was always right on the next step. in all her years of climbing stairs (running down them, trying them two at a time) she never, ever tripped and fell for me. she did so all the time with then dh.

 

however i was concerned. we have mental illness on both sides of our family. i could see my dd was different than others. i knew the burden she would have to carry so i was obsessed that i'd help her have high self esteem so that she would not come down with any mental issues.

 

well at 3 i lost that fear too. a friend and meditation teacher helped me see that. woah what an eureka moment it was for me. she  had a teenage son with mental illness and she talked me about their journey. and i found peace. i stopped being so focused on making sure my dd would be ok. i always knew no matter what happened to dd, i would always be with her. i would never leave her alone. 

 

truly i am at peace with this. like i tell my dd - the worst thing that could happen to me is to watch her suffer and die. my heart would be broken forever but i would carry on living. in a positive way. esp. for her. not living because i had to, but because i want to. 


mommy212's Avatar mommy212 02:13 PM 07-01-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey693 View Post

I still check my 2.5 year old at night to make sure she's breathing...  I'm terrified of stuff like that.  But on the playground I let her climb with the big kids and don't give it a second  thought.  I have some weird issues.


If my LO sleeps for too long at night I have to check too... and it usually wakes him up anyways and ruins the long sleeping streak! lol But sometimes you just can't help it

 


mandalamama's Avatar mandalamama 04:07 PM 07-01-2011

good example of my paranoia changing as my daughter grows ... .right now she's learning to climb the tree the other kids have been climbing since we moved here over 3 years ago. ooh it's such a fantastic tree, perfectly made for climbing!  i made sure she has on sneakers, with those elastic "spring" shoelaces so she can pull her foot out of the shoe if her foot gets stuck. i watched her closely from a little distance, from under my sunglasses while talking to her friends. she got to a point and called out "this part feels scary to me" and came down. i said "yes, always listen to your body! it knows best." now she's running off doing other things. it sucks i forgot to get the camera, but then maybe that would have made her lose her focus. now i've got one ear out the front window for when she starts climbing again. eeps! nah, she'll do fine, like she always does. *eyes the first aid kit just in case*


meemee's Avatar meemee 05:56 PM 07-01-2011

i have been thinking about this thread. 

 

my paranoia has been - never been will my dd die. i am 'ok' with dd dying. what i dont want is what i see around me. her suffering. physical or mental. and therefore i was more focussed on the right thing rather than worrying about if she would die. i have seen the affect of 'bad' parenting on adults and i swore that would never be my dd. 

'


Jenni1894's Avatar Jenni1894 09:09 PM 07-01-2011

I don't think I'm all too paranoid.   I just let DS7 ride his bike to his his friend's 7/4 party.   He asked and I talked it over w/DH (who told me he's fine he was his age riding a lot farther that often!)  I let him go with a kiss (or 5!), about 50 be careful's and 20 call me when you get there's.   It took him about 15 mins, but the paranoid mom that I am called after 20.  I figured he was okay, but needed to know, that and his ADD.....he could forget.   I worried mostly about him falling and hurting himself.

I let my 3 yo ride her bike alone out front.  She knows her boundries and has been super good about that since last summer when she was 2 (but I never let alone for more than a moment to run in and get a drink or phone).  

Yet I still can't go to sleep without checking on my kids before I go to sleep.  

 

It comes and goes, once you stop worring about 1 thing, then you are on to another thing to worry about.  


pianojazzgirl's Avatar pianojazzgirl 09:56 PM 07-01-2011

I definitely worry about bad things happening to my kids, but the paranoia was for sure at it's peak when my kids were babies, and especially with my first.  Like all these crazy totally far-fetched "what-ifs" running through my head all the time.  I do think it's likely hormonally related.  The first few months were the absolute worst, with it getting much better after that.  I also find pregnancy is my most anxious time (though I have had several losses, so that might have something to do with it).  But, yup, what you describe during pg and the early weeks and months sounds just like my experience.  Now, the good news is that, while of course I do worry sometimes about my kids, the *paranoia* is gone, if you see what I mean.  Give it some time mama.  It will get better.


erigeron 07:59 AM 07-02-2011

Quote:

Originally Posted by meemee View Post
 like i tell my dd - the worst thing that could happen to me is to watch her suffer and die. my heart would be broken forever but i would carry on living. in a positive way. esp. for her. not living because i had to, but because i want to. 

 

I am trying to get cozy with this idea. It seems like a helpful one. I am not really there yet, but I'm going to keep it in mind.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

You ask a lot of "what if" questions. I guess I'd say to you, yes - what if? What will you do if your child has an injury or an illness? You will draw on all the strength, courage, and grace you have within and that are offered by your family, friends and community. In the meantime, living with fear won't help you enjoy and celebrate this child.

 

Good point. I bought a book last year on how to deal with worry and I think that was one of the things they recommended, to think through the what-ifs and worst case scenarios, so that they lose their power to overwhelm. It's easier said than done though.

 

The more I think about this, the more I think some of it is a control thing. During pregnancy I had no idea what was going on in there and couldn't really do anything about it... I just had to wait for a sign that things were okay. (I mean, at least now I can observe her any time to make sure she's breathing.) And now my worst fear is SIDS. Because nobody seems to know what causes that and what I can do to avoid it, other than following the "sleep on back, no loose covers" kinds of recommendations. I think forward and I don't so much fear something like a bike accident or kidnapping because there are steps I can take to put her less at risk of those--teach her bike safety, be judicious about where I let her go by herself, stuff like that. I know things that are outside my control will always happen, but I like knowing that it's not just totally random and we know why it happens and there is something I can do.


prothyraia's Avatar prothyraia 09:24 AM 07-02-2011

I remember being horrified when I realized that the worrying was never really going to stop.  I somehow always thought that after I didn't have to worry about- miscarriage/stillbirth/SIDS/choking/- whatever the appropriate developmental Scary Thing was, that I'd be DONE.  But it's always just being replaced with the next developmentally appropriate Scary Thing, presumably at least until after they start *shudder* driving.  

 

So after a certain point I think you just start to get better at tuning it out.


Mummoth's Avatar Mummoth 02:54 PM 07-03-2011

I agree... you get better at tuning it out, shutting it off or rationalizing your way into more positive thoughts. Once you've survived an illness or two, you know you can cope with fevers.. you've been scared, been to emergency, lost sleep and watched them get healthy again... you still worry, but it's not as intense. It's the same with injuries... you don't want them to get hurt, but they do anyway and you start keeping band-aids in your purse. When something more serious happens, you just deal with it. You will do whatever you have to to make it okay again, and you'll handle it a lot better than you expect you can.

 

My son is 9, and has started playing after school on his own for half an hour, and walking to friends houses on his own. It absolutely petrifies me, but he loves the independence. I left him at home alone for 20 minutes, while I got his sister from school when he was home with a cold, and he called my cell before I was out of the yard to say "Mommy, I'm scared!"... not because he was, but because he thought it was soooo hilarious that I thought he might be scared while I was gone, that he had to call just to mock me! 


mambera's Avatar mambera 03:48 PM 07-03-2011

I have always been a little paranoid about my loved ones.  I don't think I am excessively anxious otherwise (I rarely worry about stuff like what do other people think of me, etc) but if someone I love is late getting home I get very stressed out.  (Of course it is far, far more intense with my DD but the general tendency to worry is something I was already familiar with.)

Also I remember reading somewhere, before I had a child, that "having a child is like forever having your heart go walking around outside of your body."  That really struck me, and combined with my existing paranoia about my loved ones' safety I think I pretty well understood that this constant subtext of anxiety was going to go with the parenting territory.

 

I do still check that my 2 y/o is breathing occasionally but definitely not like I did when she was a newborn, I do think the fragility of a newborn (not to mention the thought of SIDS) is scary and that's not something I really worry about anymore.  But it just gets replaced with other kinds of fears.

 

I don't have a lot of advice other than what's been said, just that I think this is pretty normal.  I agree with what others have said about not reading scary news stories and trying not to let it affect your child's opportunity to grow into a free and independent human being.

 

I do think it's kind of interesting what freaks different people out.  I am completely relaxed about low-grade fevers, small unidentifiable rashes, etc - I figure they are a part of childhood.  My DH wigs out about those things.  I am more freaked out by car accidents and random possibilities like what if there is an earthquake while she is at day care and I am at work 30 min away?  Those things don't even register on his radar and he still thinks it is hilarious that I will call him if he is more than half an hour later than he said he would be, just to check that he is alive. :)


Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 03:19 PM 07-04-2011

I have gotten a lot more fearful in general since becoming a mom 15 months ago. I HATE driving any significant distance with ds- even tho he is pretty good in the car- it just worries me and I get very anxious- (meaning over 10 mnutes! I will do it but I try to avoid it if I can- under 10 minutes I am okay with but before ds I used to drive a lot and have no worries about it)

In general I just feel more worried about things. Not so muich paranoid about ds all the time but just feeing more fearful about life in general. I hope I can get better as it is kind of unpleasant.

I also feel more concerned about myself- like- if I ever feel that anything would happen to me or to dh I think right away of ds- like our well being has so much more importance now that ds is so dependent on us.

and another thing- I think just by nature of being a partent to a little one- I feel "on" much of the time- right now ds is napping but I definately have one ear listening to see if I hear him and I will check him every 10 minutes or so. When he was smaller I would check him even more frequently!


rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 01:14 AM 07-05-2011

I'm a Debbie Downer, sorry in advance.  I'm not much of a worrier about my kids safety.  This is because I had a severely traumatic childhood filled with rape, molestation, abandonment, moving 50+ times, 25 schools, physical abuse, both of my brothers were hit by cars, most of my relatives are drug addicts and alcoholics, lots of suicides...

 

Yeah.  I just can't get worked up over little childhood things. lol.gif  They'll be fine.  If they aren't fine, well... I'll deal with that too.  I think that losing one of my kids would be worse than every single other thing that ever happened to me put together... and I still just can't worry about it.  There would have been no amount of worrying in the world that could have prepared someone for what actually happened to me.  So it gives me perspective.

 

To be fair, for the first few weeks I did constantly check on breathing because they both breathed so quietly and that freaked me out.  Now that they are older and they move around more and make lots of noise I'm not paranoid.  And I cosleep with pillows and blankets and my second daughter would not sleep on her back so she slept on her stomach in the whole mess.  She's 10 months old and still alive. :)  And thriving. :)  

 

Have you ever heard of Free Range Parenting?  http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/  I am not particularly a follower of Skenazy because I'm not much of a follower of any movement, but I appreciate knowing that she is out there encouraging people to lighten up a bit. :)


Peony's Avatar Peony 12:06 PM 07-05-2011

I'm not very paranoid. I follow basic safety measures, wear a helmet when riding your bike, carseats/boosters in car, etc... DD1 is 8 and is allowed to go places by herself, sometimes I make her take her cellphone so I can call if need be, other times I don't. I rarely follow the 2y around the fenced backyard, I'll keep the porch door open so I could hear if something happened. Illnesses don't phase me, never did before, and certainly not after we've had our fair share of serious ones. I'm just not a paranoid person to begin with, I don't worry during pg and not after, but it is more my personality not to get worked up about things that may or may not be. 


1 2 

Up